With Tokyo now two weeks away I thought I would put pen to paper so to speak and write down what I am hoping for from this race.
When I signed up to run Tokyo back in July I knew that this one would present a number of challenges which I have not faced during my previous nine marathons. Nothing unique to me or anything the other runners will not have to face but new to me.
Things like the long flight, jet lag, colder weather conditions, different culture and cuisine all present challenges on top of running for 26.2 miles.
To help me get over the jet lag and longer flight time I am flying out a little earlier than previous international races, but with having a young family back home I don’t want to spend too long away from home so I am spending the least amount of time in Tokyo as possible. I fly out Wednesday morning and arrive Thursday morning then fly back home early Monday morning giving me four days in Tokyo.
Initially my goal just to finish the race and make sure that I pick up that medal. This will be my fifth of the six World Marathon Majors and I do not want to fly all that way, spend all that money and time to DNF and have to do it again in the future to earn my six star medal.
Then I went and ran the 2018 New York City marathon in 3:17, my other previous WMM had all been between 3:40 – 3:58, so New York was a bit of a jump. I have been putting a bit of pressure on myself to back this time up in Tokyo. If I ran say a 3:45 in Tokyo, I feel that “people” would look at my marathon major times and see four of the five in a narrow time bracket then NYC 25 minutes faster. Would they question what happened there? Did someone else run NYC for me? How could he run that time on the hills of NYC? all silly questions to ask of a fellow runner but I know some may as that.
My training for Tokyo hasn’t been perfect, I haven’t ran the miles that I ran in the build up to Chicago and New York last year due to rehabbing my achilles niggle during December. This has now cleared and most importantly I am running pain free for the first time since May 2018, I have managed a couple of long runs which have shown signs of promise recently and my speed work has gone really well.
So do I try to run a PB, do I try to run a comfortable 3:30 or do I just coast around and finish the race.
If I run easy and not push for a PB would I then wish I had pushed hard and tried for that PB on a flat course?
I am feeling better about the run after two good long runs so why not set out at PB pace and see what I am capable of? my last 20 mile long run was at 7:30 pace which if (its a big if) I carried on through the final 10k, I would be looking at around 3:15 and a nice PB. The course is flat and quick so I am going to set off with a PB attempt in mind and run hard. If I struggle to hold the 7:30 late on, I can back off a little and still possible sneak a PB or I end up running 3:20, 3:25 etc not the end of the world, even a 3:35 would still be my second fastest marathon.
I do plan on spending quite a bit of the days leading up to the marathon walking around Tokyo to see as many sights as possible in my four days there, which will undoubtedly have an impact on my race performance but I don’t want to fly all that way and sit in the hotel. It is finding that balance between the two.